St. Francis of Assisi and Nature Tradition and Innovation in Western Christian Attitudes toward the Environment


Through close analysis of Francis's writings, particularly the Canticle of the Sun , Sorrell shows that many of Francis's beliefs concerning the proper relation of humanity to the natural world have their antecedents in scripture and the medieval monastic orders, while other ideas and practices-his nature mysticism, his concept of familial relationships with created things, and his extension of chivalric conceptions to interactions with creatures-are entirely his own. Sorrell insists, however, that only by seeing Francis in terms of the Western traditions from which he arose can we appreciate the true originality of this extraordinary figure and the relevance of his thought to modern religious and environmental concerns.

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